How Great was Jason Kendall’s Career?

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Brad Mangin
p/c: Brad Mangin-

It was announced on Monday that Jason Kendall has been named to the 2016 Hall of Fame ballot by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Kendall was a first round selection by the Pirates in 1992, and spent 18 seasons in the Majors with the Pirates, Athletics, Cubs, Brewers and Royals. Some would argue that Kendall is the greatest catcher in Pirates history, but how great was his career in general? – Here are some numbers that may surprise you.

Kendall played with the Pirates from 1996 to 2004. During those nine seasons in Pittsburgh, he posted a phenomenal .387 on base percentage. According to JAWS, a WAR system created by sabermetrician Jay Jaffe that calculates a player’s career WAR with their seven-year peak, Kendall had a 35.9 JAWS, which is 18th best all-time for a catcher. The three-time All-Star displayed above average speed, as he stole 189 bases. That total is fourth most all-time among catchers. In addition to the impressive numbers, Kendall’s durability was just as noteworthy. He caught a total of 2,025 games, making him just the fifth catcher in Major League history to have caught at least 2,000 games behind the plate. While Kendall most likely won’t be inducted into Cooperstown by the baseball writers, the career he had was certainly very outstanding nonetheless.

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